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Town council unanimously supports street sign poppy plan

Amherstburg Town Hall

Amherstburg town council has unanimously supported a plan to have poppies placed on street signs.

Town council agreed with a plan to replace existing signs with replacement signs with a poppy on them for streets named for a veteran. According to a report from manager of roads and fleet Eric Chamberlain, there are 36 streets in Amherstburg named for 44 fallen soldiers.

“Based on the mapping, there are 100 street name signs that would need to be revised to include the image of the poppy. At an average cost of $45 per sign, the cost to replace the signs will be $4,500. This initiative will be managed through the Public Works operational budget,” Chamberlain wrote.

“Administration has reached out to the Royal Canadian Legion – Poppy Trademark to gain approval for this initiative and has received endorsement from Legion Command.”

Shawn Wilkie, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 executive, said the poppy is a symbol of peace and hope as well as a remembrance of the lives sacrificed for the greater good. He told council putting poppies on street signs will also help residents remember local veterans and educate people on their sacrifices.

Poppies date back to the Napoleonic War and also to World War I. Of that latter, Wilkie said after battles raged in France, the only plant that would grow back was the red poppy.

“Lest We Forget. We will never forget,” said Wilkie. “We will remember them.”

Councillor Diane Pouget thanked the Legion members in attendance for everything they do.

“We really appreciate everything you do,” she said.

Pouget said the poppies on the street name signs will serve as a reminder and to learn from to make sure what the veterans went through doesn't happen again. She thanked Deputy Mayor Chris Gibb for taking a lead on the project.

Councillor Peter Courtney also offered thanks, adding he is proud of the town's history.

“It's kind of cool,” said Courtney. “It'll be kind of special pulling up to an intersection and seeing the signs.”

Courtney added “it all ties in fittingly” to the town's tourism and history promotion goals.

“I fully support this,” added Councillor Molly Allaire. “It's great we doing this for our veterans.”

Allaire asked how the signs would be changed and at what frequency, with clerk Kevin Fox noting there is money set aside annually to replace signs and it will be done as part of that program.

Gibb said “it's a long-time coming” and this was a project he wanted to see happen for several years. He credited other council members for supporting it and staff for working on it to make it a reality.

“I think this is a great initiative,” said Gibb. “It's well worth the cost.”

Councillor Don McArthur was also supportive of the initiative and offered his thanks as well. By putting poppies on signs, it keeps the veterans' memories alive.

Regarding the Legion itself, McArthur told the members “it's a sense of community you provide.”

Mayor Michael Prue suggested the signs be made larger, citing people aging and having difficulty reading smaller signs. That wasn't agreed to, but town council did agree with Prue to have a small ceremony when the first signs go up to pay tribute to local veterans.

“It'll be very meaningful to the people of Amherstburg,” said Prue.

By Ron Giofu

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